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Last Update: Saturday September 18, 2021

Key Idea: Hire People Who Challenge You

Sohrab Vossoughi came to this country from Iran at the age of 14 and 14 years later he opened his own design business. Today,  Ziba Designs is internationally recognized as a leader in design innovation.  In this video Sohrab works with young employees who came from all over the world to join him in this Portland, Oregon-based firm.  More...

Key Question:


Ziba gets job applications from all over the world and takes full advantage of it, the Ziba team looks like a meeting of the United Nations.

Should we try to clone ourselves in our businesses or should we look for people who are different from us?

People of different cultures, religions, backgrounds, languages, and geographical areas bring different perspectives to the table. They challenge you and that makes you better and your solutions better. America has long been thought of as a melting pot and we are all aware of how much this great nation has accomplished since its founding. Other nations, with histories measured in the thousands of years, not hundreds, have not progressed economically as we have in the United States. There are lots of theories as to the political, social, and geological reasons why. But few would argue that our diversity as a nation has contributed greatly to our strength.

Make your business a microcosm of this nation by hiring people who are different, not the same, and taking full advantage of the unique perspectives they bring to your company.

Your customer pool is diverse and one of the biggest challenges in any business is what that pool will buy at what price. You and your team have to decide what you think that is and then position yourself to meet your customers' needs. The more accurate you are, the more successful you will be. Are you more likely to be accurate if your team reflects the demographics of the customer base or not?

Think about it

Do you have the right mix of people on your team to produce the most elegant results for customers?

Clip from: Ziba Design - Be well. Do it well. Then Do It Even Better.

Sohrab Vossoughi and his people seek a higher perfection.

Portland, Oregon:  "Be well. Do it well. Then, do it even better"  drives this industrial design firm. These creative perfectionists have come from all over the globe to work side-by-side with this man pictured above, Sohrab Vossoughi.  They want to be part of a team that can make a difference in this world and in their life.

"Strive for simplicity, innovation, human-centered interaction, visual interest, and efficiency." This is the calling card not just of a design firm; it is a calling card for all businesses for the future.

Ziba Design, Inc.

Sohrab Vossoughi, Founder, CEO

334 NW 11th Street
Portland, OR 97209

Visit our web site:

Office: 503.223.9606

Business Classification:
Design, Invention,

Year Founded: 1991

Hire People Who Challenge You

HATTIE: In Portland, Oregon – Sohrab serendipitously found a great place to build a business. Even in this rainy place, plenty of employees prefer to ride – not drive -- to work. Ziba provides safe parking.

RICH: That is one of the most compelling things about coming to Ziba was that there are people from all over the world here. And there are people from so many different backgrounds. And you always have different attitudes and values that are kind of bubbling up. So you just learn a lot about the world on it's own just being in these four walls. And I think we represent – over the years that I have been here – we've represented maybe 12 or 15 distinct countries.

STEVE MCCALLION: Culture is not just nationality, but culture is also all the different backgrounds people bring here. Which is a pretty compelling piece of the story as well.

RICH: My first degree is in cognitive science which I got at the University of Rochester in upstate New York and my second degree is a graduate degree in industrial design.

NANCY: It's definitely a cross-discipline, team-oriented experience – so -- we pull in people across all different disciplines.

RICH: I'm more or less a third generation American – although I'm Jewish. It's a fascinating little tidbit, because we have this Muslim boss and a Jewish co-worker. But, really – not really an issue here  – which is very cool. Everybody is pretty respectful of one another.

JAMIAN: It is renowned internationally through the ISA awards. It's won quite a few over the years.

HATTIE: So, as a kid did you know about Ziba and say to yourself, “hey, I want to go to America and be there?”

JAMIAN: Through college – yes – America is very attractive for our profession. Basically, industrial design was born in America. Raymond Loewy – it was kind of developed here – so this is kind of like coming to Mecca, you have to come to America to see where it has all come from.

AARON HAYES: I knew about it from the beginning in school, everybody knows about Ziba. I kind of made it a goal when I was in school to get an internship there -- or here. And everybody said, “Ah, Good luck.” But I did the same thing, I called these guys and pestered them.

HATTIE: So what's the difference in working for a really big company and a company like this size -- because this isn't tiny, this isn't small small small – but it's a small business?

JONATHAN DALTON: It's fast paced and you can work on a wide variety of projects, which is great. And you also get to interact with the client. When you are interacting corporate, it is not quite the same dynamic – which makes it interesting.

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